Sleep Disturbance and Chronic Pain

Michael T. Smith, Adeel Nasir, Claudia M. Campbell and Renata Okonkwo

in The Oxford Handbook of Sleep and Sleep Disorders

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780195376203
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Sleep Disturbance and Chronic Pain

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  • Clinical Psychology



For decades, experimental data has suggested that sleep disturbance alters pain processing and heightens the sensory and emotional dimensions of pain. Until recently, however, clinical research into the prevention and treatment of chronic pain rarely included more than a superficial consideration of sleep. This chapter aims to highlight the promise of integrating sleep and pain research to address the problem of chronic pain as a central nervous system disease by 1) reviewing evidence that sleep disturbance contributes to hyperalgesia and pain augmentation, 2) summarizing longitudinal data demonstrating that sleep disruption predicts the development of chronic pain, 3) discussing how psychological factors interacting with sleep disturbance may contribute to chronic pain, and 4) highlighting potential underlying biologic mechanisms mediating associations between sleep disturbance and pain.

Keywords: Sleep disturbance; chronic pain; hyperalgesia; depression; catastrophizing; insomnia

Article.  13016 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Clinical Psychology

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